Global News Round Up

Politics & Policies

China is on the course to unseat the US as the next leader in global health.  While the US has historically had a strong role in providing vaccinations, reducing global deaths from measles, polio, and malaria, China is evolving from a receiver of aid and vaccinations to a provider.

President Donald Trump, striving to make good on a top campaign promise, is pushing his fellow Republicans who control Congress to pass revamped healthcare legislation but the same intraparty squabbling that torpedoed it last month could do it again.

President Trump’s budget has proposed drastic cuts to foreign affairs funding – by almost 30%. This reduction in aid would hit U.S. and United Nations agencies that lead the global fight against many infectious diseases, polio among them.

On the global health front, the new administration is on the steep part of the learning curve.  And people worried about its understanding of and appreciation for the benefits of US global health spending — worries exacerbated by proposed to-the-bone cuts in the president’s budget blueprint — are hoping to fast-track that education process.

SNAP is one of the largest safety net programs in the United States, and the largest nutrition program. It currently helps 45 million low-income Americans – nearly half of them children –  pay for food each month. But while the program’s current benefits reduce hunger, they don’t go far enough to help most families to purchase healthy food.

On March 30, the Center for Technology Innovation (CTI) at the Brookings Institution hosted three expert panelists at our forum on health governance capacity to discuss the findings of the recently released Health Governance Capacity report. This was the first of six reports to be released as a part of the Brookings Private Sector Global Health R&D Project.

Programs, Grants & Awards

Polly J. Price, professor of law and professor of global health at Emory University, has been named one of 35 recipients of the 2017 Andrew Carnegie fellowship.

The Global Health Leadership Institute, founded by Elizabeth Bradley in 2009, will lose its funding from the Provost’s Office and integrate into the School of Public Health after the end of the University’s fiscal year on June 30.

The 14th Annual World Health Care Congress convenes decision makers from all sectors of healthcare to catalyze meaningful partnerships and change. In 2017, faculty focus on policy and market forces impacting the healthcare business environment including consolidation, consumer empowerment, digital health, and the ongoing shift to value-based payment.

The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO and will be meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on May 22-31.  It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.

The diplomats who met to form the United Nations in 1945 also discussed the need for a global health group; that led to the creation of the World Health Organization. Its constitution went into effect on April 7, 1948, and World Health Day is celebrated annually on April 7.

Research

The impact of environmental change can be passed on in the genes of tiny nematode worms for at least 14 generations – the most that has ever been seen in animals – scientists have discovered.

In the first study to link depression with underweight body types, the research found that both both men and women can be impacted by negative thoughts about being too skinny.

Despite the well recognized health benefits of fresh fruit consumption, substantial uncertainties remain about its potential effects on incident diabetes and among those with diabetes, on risks of death and major vascular complications.

The model of infectious disease prevention and control changed significantly in China after the outbreak in 2003 of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), but trends and epidemiological features of infectious diseases are rarely studied. In this study, we aimed to assess specific incidence and mortality trends of 45 notifiable infectious diseases from 2004 to 2013 in China and to investigate the overall effectiveness of current prevention and control strategies.

Diseases & Disasters

The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, on Friday said vaccinations, including against Cerebrospinal Meningitis, CSM, are provided free of charge by the Nigerian government.

The incidence of angiostrongyliasis, nicknamed “rat lungworm” illness because of its origins (it comes from a parasite in the lungs of rats via rat feces to snails and slugs and then through contaminated food or drink to humans) is on the rise in Hawaii.

About 1.24% of the 5000 Latin-American born LA residents were tested positive for Chagas disease.

While the number of deaths due to malaria has dropped by nearly two-thirds over the last 15 years, there is growing concern about the signs of resistance to existing anti-malarial drugs.

To mark the World Malaria Day on April 25th, WHO announced that the world’s first malaria vaccine is moving to the next phase and is going to be introduced in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi next year.

A new water supply system was inaugurated by the UN in Lascahobas, Haiti to combat the cholera epidemic.

More than two thirds of people living in Chile, Ecuador and Mexico are overweight or obese, costing their economies tens of billions of dollars every year, driving rates of disease and straining health services, a UN report said on Tuesday.

Technology

MIT research scientist Richard Fletcher directs the Mobile Technology Group at MIT D-Lab, which develops a variety of mobile sensors, analytic tools, and diagnostic algorithms to study problems in global health and behavior medicine

Researchers have isolated a substance in the blood of Komodo dragon that appears to have potent germ killing properties.

Researchers have built a device that could harvest water from dry air and is powered by the sun.

Environmental Health

Diesel car owners might be paid to trade in their cars under UK’s new air quality plans.

While fossil fuel like oil and coal get most of the blame for climate change and pollution, agriculture also contributes to the problem. American farmers – the world’s biggest grain producers – are responsible for 9 percent of all US greenhouse-gas emissions, and rice has three times as much per acre as corn and five times that of wheat, according to a University of California-Davis study in 2012.

Environmental groups have urged the UK Prime Minister not to water down climate change and illegal wildlife trade regulations to secure post-Brexit deals.

Equity & Disparities

The Summit on Neglected tropical Diseases held in Geneva is an opportunity to identify solutions to address gaps that prevent millions of people from seeking care and  treatment.

Gender mainstreaming is a stated policy in Papua New Guinea but a new study shows that the application of this policy has often been technocratic. The study found that gender is rarely mentioned except in the context of maternal and child care programs.

Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

A new analysis shows that children and adolescent mortality burden is larger in countries with low socioeconomic status.

According to the Kenyan Demographic Health Survey, infant mortality rate has decreased from 59 per 1000 live births in 2009 to 39 per 1000 live births in 2014 and there also has been an impressive increase in the number of mothers seeking antenatal care (88% in 2003 to 96 % in 2014).

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